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J Allergy Clin Immunol. 1994 May;93(5):932-42.

Egg yolk alpha-livetin (chicken serum albumin) is a cross-reactive allergen in the bird-egg syndrome.

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  • 1Institute of General and Experimental Pathology, Vienna, Austria.


Thirty-one patients with clinical history of egg allergy, bird allergy, or bird and egg allergy were investigated with the use of the immunoblot technique to compare IgE-binding components in bird feather and egg yolk and white extracts. Patients were classified into three groups according to clinical history, skin prick test results, and RAST results. Patients in group I were sensitized to bird feathers and egg yolk, patients in group II to egg white, and patients in group III to bird feather but not to eggs. Patients with bird-egg syndrome were mainly female adults, whereas egg white allergy was mainly observed in children without any obvious sex predisposition. IgE from patients with bird-egg syndrome recognized a 70 kd protein in egg yolk (chicken serum albumin = alpha-livetin) and some major allergens in bird feather extract (70, 95, and 200 kd). Preincubation of pooled sera from patients with bird-egg syndrome with budgerigar or hen feather extract and egg yolk extract, respectively, led to complete blocking of IgE binding to allergens in egg yolk and bird feather extract. On the other hand, IgE from patients with egg white allergy did not react with allergens in egg yolk and bird feather extract, despite strong IgE binding to egg white allergens. Patients in group III displayed no reactivity to bird feather or egg allergens. Our results demonstrate common epitopes of budgerigar and hen feather and egg yolk alpha-livetin. Therefore we assume that alpha-livetin (chicken serum albumin) leads to a cross-sensitization and consequently to the "bird-egg syndrome."

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